Friday, September 15, 2017
Roshan Nauhria, Leader, New Zealand People's Party
I like every resident of this country am of the opinion that national funding toward the health sector has to be considered a big priority for New Zealand right now.
There would be no need for concerns if New Zealanders were being dealt with in a consistent manner with high-quality care. However, we have persistent inequities in access to health care, there has to be a swift plan of action in place to correct this. A few shortfalls can be understood and overlooked. But the current scenario is that of extreme concern. The funding on our health care system has to increase in proportion to the growing needs and we cannot apply the wait and watch approach here.
The queues in hospital waiting rooms are a nightmare. And even if you can afford to go see a GP then staffing shortages and rapidly rising costs mean you're in for a decent wait and a large bill. People have been asked to leave hospitals and denied health care due to the shortage of beds and facilities not just in Auckland but in other cities as well. Nursing staff, paramedics, doctors, etc., are all short in numbers. Right now it is not at an acceptable standard. While we are rapidly training new doctors and nurses, stalled wages and rising living costs are seeing them rapidly leave the country.
It is not just an essential expenditure to be added to the annual budget but an area of priority. I believe we have to attract more of these skilled category people from across the globe and also incentivise the health department by providing them with the latest technology and equipment.
Shortfalls in healthcare do not just affect the people but it also has significant consequences for the economy as a whole. Our socialised medicine was once our crowning glory and anyone who has been to the emergency room in America while on holiday understands why keeping it is important. However, we also need to maintain exceptionally high standards of care.
We have an ageing population and the duty of care is going to fall on future generations. We need a detailed roadmap of how successive governments can meet this duty of care and carry it out to the highest standards. Healthy people make for a healthy economy and unless we get a government that understands this we are going to keep going down the current ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ approach.
All New Zealanders have the right to healthcare in this country and it is important that it is maintained to the highest standard possible. We are one of the lowest taxed countries in the developed world and if we keep neglecting our health sector we are going to have less and less people able to work and pay tax. I want a strong, healthy New Zealand where access to health care and quality of care isn't dependent on the number of dollars you have in your pocket.